Zamalek Art Gallery: ‘Passion Offerings’ by Adel Tharwat
Now showing at Zamalek Art Gallery’s Venue II, ‘Passion Offerings’ displays a culturally rich series of paintings by Egyptian Artist, Adel Tharwat. Born in Cairo in 1966, Tharwat holds a PhD in Art education from Helwan University, where he later went on to become a professor.
Tharwat’s approach in ‘Passion Offerings’ delves into both shared and personal self-assessment when it comes to cultural identity and explores cultural heritage, with the aesthetic of Pharonic imagery, with African and more contemporary touches. The paintings themselves are enormous in size reaching a staggering 135 X 135cm, creating an effect of power and gravity, and each one features several figures grouped together and engaged in some sort of manual labour whilst others, the female figures, are displayed as symbols of vanity, love and the softer nature of humans.
The style of the painted figures lack detail and so the individual role of each character is not important; the faces are merely just brown colour as are the bodies dressed in simple clothing: the males with simple cloth around them and the women in dresses. Sharp lines and exaggerated curves are used to form the figures in likeness to the Pharonic wall carvings from centuries ago as are the meanings they give. Tharwat’s paintings read like a story – a story of traditional Egyptian cultural heritage filled with symbols, bold colours and each with the traditional essence of Egypt. His paintings are filled with marks and patterns that may resemble the weaving of tapestries.
Another point that is apparent in several of these large paintings is that there are some areas painted in gold, which not only captures the light in a way that even the bolder colours used cannot, but also a certain beauty that fittingly represents wealth and sacredness.
In the brochure which is available at the exhibition, Adel Tharwat quotes: “I am an Egyptian” and his paintings convey this message with a thoughtfulness and subtle passion in beautifully artistic fashion.
Egypt has a rich culture and a vast artistic history, so exhibitions like this have an important presence in the what is quickly becoming a more eclectic local art scene and Adel Tharwat’s latest collection aid in preserving a piece of it.